The Idaho National Laboratory is a federal government facility owned by the United States Department of Energy. Plaintiff Battelle is the lab’s management and operating contractor. Battelle’s work at the lab includes performing federally funded research projects.
In 2009, the Department of Energy commissioned Battelle to research and develop a computer program aimed at protecting the United States’ critical energy infrastructure (oil, gas, chemical and electrical companies) from cyber attacks. Defendant Corey Thuen is a former Battelle employee who helped develop this program, which eventually became known as Sophia.